The first meeting for 2021 of the LLF Next Steps group was held on 21 January remotely via Zoom.

At its first meeting of the year, the Group recommitted to being both open and transparent both within the working group as well as publicly, as church-wide engagement with the Living in Love and Faith resources unfolds.

The Enabling Officer of the LLF Next Steps Group updated the group on the progress of securing LLF Advocates, confirming that there were only four remaining dioceses yet to appoint an Advocate, with approximately 50 Advocates already appointed.  An overview of LLF Diocesan events held so far was given, with the events generating very positive feedback. Registration on the LLF Hub is increasing by approximately 300 per week, with the next print run of the LLF Book expected to be available in mid-February.

The Group discussed the implementation of a strategy for ‘Learning Together Safely’. The group agreed that it is crucial for the Next Steps Group to provide clear guidance on how groups can function as well and as safely as possible. The difficulties of monitoring behaviour on social media were discussed and it was agreed that it would be important to reference the Church of England Social Media Guidelines throughout the process.

The Group was updated on progress towards a Pastoral Principles Course. The group endorsed the plan, underlining the urgency of producing such a course to allow groups time to run the Pastoral Principles course before the LLF course if they so prefer.

The Group discussed a vision and plan for the gathering and use of feedback from groups’ engagement with the LLF resources. The desire was for feedback that reflects creatively and holistically the experiences of participants, alongside robust qualitative and quantitative gathering and analysis of data. The Group agreed that the that the LLF Learning Outcomes could be a useful framework for this research.

An update about the Group’s ecclesiology workstream took place, with further discussion deferred to future meetings once initial drafts relating to an understanding of church through the lens of friendship have been completed.

The Group affirmed the plans to form a Reference Group of ‘grass roots’ people who are actively involved in the life of the church. This group will act as a sounding board for engagement and feedback. Advocates will be asked to propose individuals who might join this group, with the aim of ensuring diversity in relation to age, ethnicity, sexuality, church context and tradition.

The group reviewed a plan for engagement with the House and College of Bishops during 2021. It was noted that the timeline is predicated on all planned engagement taking place in 2021 and a process of discernment and decision-making taking place during 2022. It was agreed that the timetable be formally revisited in March 2021 to assess the impact of Covid-19.

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